Balancing Act on the Canal

Silsden’s Jonnie Fannon, just nine years old, will travel the length of the Leeds-Liverpool canal stood up on the pegs of his electric-powered OSET trials motorbike, in aid of spinal research.

The youngster will take on the 127-mile task after motorbike-star and TV presenter, Guy Martin suggested stepping away from his usual trials riding, to have fun on his motorbike, while still challenging himself and raising money for a good cause at the same time.

Jonnie, who is also sponsored by Proper Cleaner, will ride his OSET 24.0R with local friend, 20 year old Adam Thornton who will complete the challenge on an Orange 5 mountain bike.  Riding at an average 8 mph, the pair will ride over two days on 4 – 5 August 2018.

Adam said: “What a totally top lad Jonnie is for stepping up, doing something different and raising money for a great cause. To see him take on a challenge that would defeat some adults is phenomenal – good on him!   I’ll be doing everything I can to help him make it to Leeds!”

Jonnie chipped in: “I can’t believe all the people that are trying to help me!  Of course my dad, mum and my sister but Adam’s been brilliant, Nige at Trials UK is making sure all my kit is proper and the list of people that have already sponsored me are MJ construction of Ilkley, Ds Guttering, Trilogy Hair & Beauty, Lee Knox Plumbing  and JK Construction.  Oh and I better say my dad’s company Chris Fannon Electrics – they’re the best!”

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Dad, Chris said: “His mum and I are in total awe of Jonnie for taking up this truly testing challenge!  Guy and I were just talking about alternative activities that Jonnie could do on his OSET to keep him interested, when Guy suggested setting a big achievement for him to attempt.  We’ve teamed up with Adam, to accompany him and they’ve been in training over the last few weeks to get ready for the main event.

“The issues we’ve had to address are legs and arm ache from being in the same position for up to 2.5 hours at a time.  Arm pump, where your arms swell and can’t dispel the build-up of lactic acid and maintaining concentration over a full day to prevent accidents and physical exhaustion.”

To combat some of the issues the pair face, they are training at Woodhead’s gym where Jonnie is building some additional strength and concentrating on balance and core stability.

Day 1 will see the duo leave Liverpool at 5am and ride to Skipton, arriving around 3pm.  Day two will be a later start, leaving the market-town at 8am, (pass through Silsden at around 9am) and arrive in Leeds around 2pm.

It’s not just the physicality needed to ride the distance over varied terrain, but a number technical issues Jonnie will face along the 127 miles.  Every couple of hours there will be a battery change and bike checks.  Mum Lidia and sister Hollie will make up the support crew and are on hand for food, drinks and encouragement at every stop!

Nige Pearson from Trials UK, who is supporting the charity ride with technical and bike maintenance, said: “Jonnie is like a mini-Guy to be honest.  He’s a real personality and we’re delighted to support him.  We hold all the OSET spares in stock, so we’re completely ready with anything he needs.  As OSETs are electric there’s no noise so we hope they have a peaceful ride and we’re not needed on the day!”

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